San Francisco scoops up e-scooters

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Since last Friday, there have been close to 300 e-scooters impounded by San Francisco Department of Public Works. 

“We have been going out, our inspectors and our crews, going out to confiscate, impound scooters that are not left correctly in the public right of way,” said Rachel Gordon of SFDPW. 

Officials say that’s the problem with the trendy transportation – people are leaving them anywhere, often blocking sidewalks. 

Early this week, the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office issued cease and desist orders to three e-scooter companies, LimeBike, Spin and Bird. 

“We have gotten numerous complaints saying that the scooters have been left haphazardly in the middle of the sidewalk, blocking a curb ramp, maybe in a bus zone where people are getting on and off a muni bus, our job is to make sure that the public sidewalks are kept safe,” Gordon said. 

The California vehicle code mandates that all e-scooter riders wear bicycle helmets, have a valid drivers license, ride on the road, not on sidewalks, and never park a scooter on a sidewalk in a position that blocks the pedestrian path.

KRON4 reached out to all three scooter share companies. Spin and Bird say they are willing to work with the city to resolve any issues. 

Officials at LimeBike sent KRON4 the following statement: 

We take the action this week by the City Attorney and the Board of Supervisors seriously. In response, we are updating our current community outreach plan to address the City’s concerns about pedestrian safety, parking compliance, and rider education. We plan to roll out new initiatives, along with our complete response to the City Attorney by the end of next week.

In the meantime, we will implement the following:

1. Safety: We will provide LimeSF branded helmets to our users at LimeBike’s San Francisco headquarters, starting Sunday, April 22 (Earth Day) between 12PM-3PM.  We will continue to distribute helmets through our local operations team and established community partners.

2. Parking: We will develop a new in-app feature for riders to submit a photo of their properly parked scooter at the end of each ride.

3. Sidewalk usage: We will update the existing guidelines on our scooters to clearly state and display proper usage i.e. Riding on or blocking sidewalks is illegal. We will also make changes in-app to reinforce this message.

Finally, we look forward to our ongoing collaboration with the SFMTA and other key city stakeholders to design industry standards on proper parking and deployment etiquette. As the largest shared electric fleet service provider in the United States, we are proud of our local operations and want to ensure that the entire personal mobility industry succeeds and provides a win-win situation for our city partners.

We recognize that we can’t fix every concern overnight, but as a Bay Area company, we want to be lasting partners with the City and County of San Francisco. This is where LimeBike employees work and live — we want to be good stewards of our hometown and help solve our shared mobility issues.

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